Across America-Reno to Evanston

Discussion in 'Travelling, Commuting & Safety' started by uncle_punk13, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. uncle_punk13

    uncle_punk13 Guest

    We had quite a time leaving Reno, looking for a small engines shop, or motorcycle shop, from which to purchase some supplies, and have the engine looked at as it was running somewhat 'off'
    In looking back through my journal I remembered the beauty of the desert nights...
    "We left Reno on the 22nd of May. I won't be riding much as this stretch is all Interstate Highway, with no secondary roadways to ride upon. We traveled through many of the places George stayed and took some photos. We spent the night in the desert outside of
    Winnemucca. When we first entered the desert I thought it was hideous, but as we were setting up our camp and getting settled in, the sun began to sink in the western skies. I really began to see the beauty of it all and the true appeal of this vast sand and sagebrush wasteland came to light. Once the sun had set and the stars came out, it was enough to steal your breath away."

    Friday, May 23 2003- On this day we realized that the route George originally took was no longer available to us but a similar path could be traveled. We believe originally George rode north around the Great Salt Lake. Well this is completely inaccessible now. So we decided we could shoot up north from eastern Nevada to visit my older brother Bill who lives in southern Idaho. While at this campsite we took some more video footage for Ron's film. By gads it was hot in that wool suit, and I must admit that my patience wore extremely thin in a very short time. The bike was running crummy, and the sand kept me slipping and sliding and falling off. At one point I tore off the jacket and vest , threw my hat at the bike and wandered over a hill for a few moments to regain my composure. My verbiage at this time was of the variety that should not be repeated publicly.
    After finishing up the video work, we broke down camp, loaded the bike, and rolled on out towards the north.


    Traveling into Idaho was actually rather pleasant. The landscape began to change and there were these grand rock formations that looked as if some gigantic child had placed them there a million years ago, during it's playtime. We arrived at Bill and Deb's place in southern Idaho, and we were able to relax and clean up a bit again. We were ahead of schedule and so Dad decided he really wanted to stay and visit for a couple of days. I really just wanted to keep moving, but also felt that a bit of a rest would be nice. I was also able to use the computer to send out messages to friends, acquaintances, etc. So we stayed over the weekend of May 24 and 25 2003. From there we would travel on down through Ogden to Salt Lake City where there was supposed to be a Whizzer Dealership. This is basically the same way George rode; only we did it in a slightly larger radius.
    We left Idaho on May 26 after a delicious breakfast prepared by Deb. Bill had left, as he had to go back out on the road.
    Bill is a long haul Semi-truck Driver. He really seems to enjoy it for the most part.
    Well, another long journey through the desert wastes. We stopped for lunch and took some photos in some of the "places" George had mentioned in his original story.


    There's nothing left now of this 'town' of 1903's original tale, just the vastness of the desert.
    And we continued on.
    What can I say here; I mean it's just the same old thing- a long, hot, boring drive through scorching sand and sagebrush. It's not worth wasting the energy and words to describe.

    Tuesday May 27- "We arrived in Salt Lake yesterday evening, and found Classic Cycle Co., the motorcycle shop that is a Whizzer dealership. They are authorized dealers for Triumph, Moto-Guzzi, Royal Enfield, and Whizzer. Unfortunately, we are stuck here for a couple of days as the shop was closed yesterday and is closed today for an observance of Memorial Day. We are set up in the dirt, parking strip across from the Flying J truck stop, and I'm bored out of my skull! I want to get moving, and when I sit I have too much time to think of all that I've tried to leave behind. Some of my baggage has dropped along the way and I can only hope and pray that the rest of it will also fade away as the miles roll by; yet that only works when I'm riding, the wind and the rolling asphalt seem to just take it all away and leave my mind and spirit free..."

    I had gotten up and had my coffee at the Flying J, and upon my return found Dad awake, bright eyed, bushy tailed, and chipper as ever. I started doing some stuff on the bike, with Dad hanging around chatting. It was kind of a pleasant late morning, until I shot some gasoline into my eye.
    Dad had turned his back when this happened so he had no idea what was going on when I started to holler,
    "Dad, water..."
    "What are you yelling for?!"
    "Jesus Christ here!" As he hands me a bottle of water, "You don't have to yell about it!"
    I immediately began washing out my eye when out pops the greatest question of all time: "Did you get something in your eye?"
    Oh my god! I wanted to laugh, scream, jump, and cry; all at the same time. "Yeah, I got a little something in my eye. "
    "What was it?"
    "Nothing, just a little gasoline, that's all. Maybe I over reacted..."

    Nothing much happened the rest of the day. I read quite a lot, finishing one of the books I had brought along and beginning another, writing in my journal, and I just kinda kicked around in the parking lot watching the dust swirl up around my boots.
    The next day we headed over to Classic Cycle to wait for them to open. I kept trying to get that damned bike to start but she just wouldn't fire up for me. It was trying to fire up, but just wouldn't do anything more than sputter and cough. Finally I rolled up next to the entrance of the place and leaned my bike against the wall. About a half an hour later, the owner Amin showed up. He of course immediately went to look at the bike while we were explaining our expedition, the George Wyman story, and our current predicament. Amin was the friendliest fellow, he invited us right in; I immediately noticed the 1920's motorcycle on display (right next to a used 1999 Whizzer for sale), and while Amin puttered around the place getting ready for the day's business Dad and I patiently waited and looked at all the bikes for sale.
    Amin graciously cleaned, rebuilt, and adjusted the carburetor free of charge as his donation to the adventure; he only charged us for the two spark plugs (one replaced and one to spare, a new fuel filter, and the mirror. I had not found a proper mirror before heading out on this adventure, and very quickly discovered that it was indeed a necessity!) We left at around11:30 A.M. to head on up to Ogden, Utah.

    Yet again the bike was loaded up into the bed of the pickup truck and we drove back up to Ogden, Utah; where, once on the outskirts of the city, we went through the process of (again) unloading the bike from the support vehicle. Once we had everything back together I did a final inspection on the bike. Dad and I went over the map to be sure of the route I would be riding. Then, when everything was checked out and Okayed, I hopped on my beast and took off. Oh, how good it felt to be riding again! The pure joy of motoring along the desolate black ribbon leading east in an upwardly direction was intoxicating. I knew it would not be easy, as my previous experience in the Sierras had shown. In addition to the Sierra experience, this mountainous region was, and would be, at an even higher altitude. I would have to be prepared to pedal assist my iron steed up, up, up still again. I rode through a gradually changing terrain that proved to me that I was, in fact, making progress riding this bike across America, just like my hero George. I was moving away from the flat dull sand and sagebrush to a reddish colored rocky terrain spotted with the now old and familiar sagebrush.
    Now granted, I kept having to load the thing up and ride along for quite a bit as there was no safe alternative. Not only was I not allowed on the interstate, but also that would have been too dangerous to even consider. So I was doing the best I could; riding as much as possible. If anyone wants to say anything to the contrary about this trip, he or she can damn good and well go on out there to try it for him or her- selves! It's not nearly as easy a task as it may seem, and sure is a whole lot more difficult than sitting around in a nice comfy air-conditioned dwelling making brilliant observations about historical accuracy. I will leave it at that.
    Part way up the mountain grade the engine began having troubles, then quit running completely. Dad and I pulled into a campground and I stepped behind a bush for a moment, and when finished with that blew my top. I just plain had a meltdown. I had a lot on my mind, as there were problems with certain members of the support team bickering and causing trouble back home. I was out here in the middle of nowhere doing my absolute best to keep this re-creation ride on the road. With all the problems I'd been having with the bike and finding roads to ride upon, I very last thing I needed to have on my mind was all this back-stabbing, whining, bickering crap going on. This was just the final straw to what had been an already stressful few days. I admit fully that I just completely lost my temper.
    After I had simmered down and the bike had cooled down, I made a few adjustments to the carburetor, ate some food (I hadn't eaten since around 8:30 that morning), and then tried again. Success!!! I rolled out onto the highway and was about a mile and a half along when I realized I had left my gloves sitting on top of the trailer. I glanced in the mirror and saw Dad coming up behind me.
    "Damn It!" Not only were those my favorite riding gloves, and not only had I had them for four years so that they were just now broken in and formed to my hands, but riding without them was killing my hands and arms. The vibration from the engine and the road after a time was shooting lightning darts through my hands and up into my arms, elbows, and shoulders. I pulled over and Dad pulled the support vehicle in behind me. He wore a curious look on his face; "Everything all right?" he asked with some apprehension, and irritation at having to stop again so soon.
    "No." I explained what had happened, "My hands are killing me and those were my favorite gloves." I continued grumbling to, and about, myself as I went around to the rear of the vehicle, "I swear if I had half a brain the general populace of this country would be at some serious risk..." Well, I just had to check the trailer in case by some sort of miraculous force of the universe my gloves would still be there. Nope; not a chance... Those old friends were long gone, nothing more than a phantom memory to remain in the past. I laughed as began to realize I was leaving my own 'Wyman-esque' legacy of this trip. I had added more bits and pieces of my adventure along the trail. Really, I swear that wasn't what I meant when I spoke of leaving all my baggage behind... It wasn't until later that I would discover I had left my one of my best screwdrivers up there on the camper with my gloves, and then along the highway somewhere as well.
    Figuring that there was nothing else I could do I jumped back in the saddle and spurred that pony on; looking forward to putting the desert, and hopefully my troubles, behind me in a trail of dust. I was also looking forward to meeting Bruce Thomas in person at Evanston, WY.
    I rode on, riding alongside a small creek that wound around with the road, following its bends and curves. Upward, forward, onward- we climbed and climbed, the sagebrush began to give way to the familiar grasses, wildflowers, and coniferous tree varieties of higher altitudes. Nearing the top, the crystalline blue creek and I had said farewell then parted ways about an hour ago, we stopped at a very wide gravel parking area used during the winter months for unloading snowmobiles. It is at this point on the pass that there are large steel gates that close off access to autos, motorcycles, bicycles, and what have you for the winter.
    This is the trail head for snowmobiles and such. We stopped briefly for refreshments and nature calls. Again the road maps were gone over to make sure we both knew the route, and to check that we were still on the correct route. We were, and so with that I donned my gear (minus my gloves), stepped up on that big, black, motor bicycle and took off again into the great unknown.


    As I left that graveled parking area, and zoomed through the open gates I was suddenly struck with an overwhelming sensation. I had a shiver run through the course of my body, my heart climbed up to turn into a lump in my throat, there was a moistness to my eyes. It had just hit me again, (although this was the hardest I had been hit with it yet!) I was really doing this thing; me, Nobody from Nowhere, Washington State; just me, a dumb little punk was making history in a way!
    "You 'n' Me George! Just you and I! Right here, right now. We're doing this thing! D'ya hear me George? This is all for you buddy!"
    At the top of my lungs, over the screaming of the wind in my ears, over the roar of the engine, I was making my place known with the man who inspired me and this whole darned business of cross country motorbiking.
    That probably makes absolutely no sense what so ever to any ones else, but right then George and I had connected. The past and the present had collided in a sensational array of thought and emotion. There was something else as well; I had finally connected on a different level with my bike. I know that sounds strange to many of you, but there are those out there who will know exactly what I mean by this. It can't be explained if you don't understand, so I'm not going to try. Suffice it to say that I now knew that this bike and I were one and that we could do anything together. I pulled myself back together, settled into the leather saddle, and felt all right with the world- although I was feeling a bit cold (I lost my gloves remember; this is the first part that starts to feel the temperature decrease). My hands had little needles of cold pulsing through them. As I wound up and around, then up and back again, I began to notice the snow up on the tops of the mountains. The temperature was dropping as I rose in elevation. My engine was having a hard time of it as well, so I adjusted the carburetor and kept going. A few more adjustments, and a few miles later, I found that I was needed to help my bike along. I began to pedal assist the bike up, up, up; around gentle (and not so gentle) curves, hairpin corners, and switchbacks; once I had reached the summit, I desperately needed a break. Not only for my lungs, but to warm my hands and grab a few bites of those wonderful energy bars. As I pulled to the side of the road I turned to see what was probably the most breath-taking picture of my entire journey.
    I was nearly at the top of this range of Mountains, and when I turned I swear I could see eternity's edges and then some. My God! Never before have I witnessed such grandeur, such power, and such beauty. This was a splendor that few upon this earth will ever see. Wouldn't you know it? The pictures we shot didn't come out! I ingested some water, and part of my energy bar all the while drinking in the magnificence that I was privileged to view. Dad had pulled up by this time and was just as stunned as I by this. After a time I started out again.
    I was at the highest point in my journey and at the highest point I had ever been in my entire life. The summit elevation marker stated that we were at an elevation of 9,200 feet above sea level! Just think I had pedaled a good portion of that!


    I began my descent, headed towards the Wyoming border, then on into Evanston. My descent was just as glorious and magnificent as the climb; the snow, the pine and fir trees, the grasses, and the wildflowers given way gradually to red sheer cliff walls, scrubby brush and grasses, and the deepest pure sky blue that seemed almost as if you could swim or drown in it. A few odd little cotton-smoke puff clouds would appear then disappear just a quickly as they had come. I was racing along down the mountain, at a higher and higher rate of speed. Occasionally, I would lightly, oh so very gently, back pedal in order to slightly engage the coaster brake mechanism and slow my speed a bit. This was similar to the way you would gently pump the brakes of your car in icy conditions. I knew that if the rear brake, and therefore the back wheel, locked up I would go down in a heartbeat. If that were to happen at these speeds (well past 40 M.P.H. and probably closer to 50 Miles Per Hour), I would be in a world of hurt and my journey would come to a sudden, asphalt grating halt, and just that quick. Once again, towards the lower half of the grade I pulled over for a brief rest. Dad pulled the truck in behind and got out. We noticed that the small stream that had appeared near the road had numerous beaver dams and small ponds forming. I'd not seen a beaver damn that I could remember; except for that television show "Wild Kingdom" and other such television shows when I was a kid. This was fascinating to me; Pop and I sat to observe (and enjoy) the landscape which had begun to turn from red to a yellow color and though there was still some scrubby tough looking grasses, the sagebrush had begun to make a re-appearance. Once again I mounted up and rolled on towards the distant horizon. As the incline of the road began to gradually decrease I began to see old farms and ranches. Dilapidated old barns and rusted away, forgotten, antiquated machinery lay sprinkled about along this route. Occasionally a farmer, ranch hand, or whoever would look up and give a slight wave or a tip of the hat to this odd little passerby on his antique-looking motorcycle. With these subtle greetings I could almost feel a certain sense of that legendary 'Western Hospitality' I had heard about.
    I had to wonder if the old 'Code of the West' was still alive and prevalent, or if that, along with many of our other old fashioned ways, had faded with time. The answer to that, I believed, I was sure to find out. I was on a relatively flat (by comparison to where I come from), rolling land now and a headwind was beginning to introduce itself to me. I eased up one side, down the other, around gentle curves, and up more softly rolling hills. After a little time spent cruising along at around 35 miles per hour, I crested one of these lumps. Lo and behold right there in front of me was the Wyoming state line marked a big sign that had the silhouette of a cowboy riding a bronco with Devil's Tower in the background! I had done it! Another state burned away in the dusty trail behind me, we were staying fairly close to schedule, and as close as we could to the route taken by George A. Wyman one hundred years ago!


    The soil at one point had gone back to a more reddish hue. I found this to be strange and curious- the way the soil changes hues around these parts. This was a fascinating whole new world to me, and you may rest assured that I did not miss any opportunity to take notice of it. I pulled up in front of the Wyoming road sign and dismounted, waiting for Dad to catch up. Dad caught up and was on the cell phone. As it turns out it was my older brother Bill on the wireless line. Dad handed the phone over to me and Bill gave me the greatest bit of wisdom concerning Wyoming that I had received from anyone to date:
    "You'll find that the wind is always blowing at you, and you are always going uphill; no matter what direction you happen to traveling in." I found, a little while later, this was not a joke; no exaggerations had been made. It also happened to be that Bill was, at the moment, driving his semi truck across Wyoming and was going to meet us in Evanston at the 'Flying J' truck stop. I handed the phone back to Pops and before we departed from this roadside reunion (of sorts), we just had to get a photo in front of the Wyoming sign.
    That's three states behind us: California, Nevada, and Utah! Along with that realization was, once again, the confirmation that we were, in fact, recreating the journey that George A. Wyman had embarked upon one hundred years ago and had undoubtedly made history with. We were fully submerged, with no chance of turning back, in the Centennial celebration of the first motorized crossing of the United States! I felt that same sore thickness in my throat, but was able to subdue it before it got too far.
    After our photo shoot and some water, I once again mounted that iron steed, with the engine thunder and rushing wind in my ears I continued on. The scrubby, yellow-green grasses, providing nutrition for the herds of cattle seen all along the asphalt trail, made an interesting contrast to the red colored soil. So on toward the horizon where dusty blue meets gritty red I rolled, up one side and down the other of many small hills, leaning and throttling the gentle curves; a constant abrasive headwind licked at my face, hands, and neck. This was to be a grueling aspect of this part of my journey; that damned abrasive wind. It was like riding around inside a sandblasting cabinet, to a lesser degree.


    After a while I came upon a crossroads; a four-way stop with a house on one corner, some sort of building on another, a small store looking sort of building on the third corner lot (though whether or not it was open or even actually a business, or just a building I will never know for sure), and the rest just bare nothingness. I looked over my left shoulder at Dad in the support truck. Through the bug and dust encrusted windshield, I could see Dad pointing to the right. Okay, so I eased off the clutch while pedaling, pushed on the handlebars to the right, then just for the hell of it gunned the throttle! Man, I took off like a shot, cruising along over more hills and around more curves on my way towards that days end and our destination of Evanston at the Flying J truck stop.
    At some point I noticed the population growing with a bit more density. A trailer here, a barn there, when it seemed suddenly that the mobile home trailers were as closely spaced as the homes in my own neighborhood. Up ahead of me, in the burning sun, I noticed a group of feller's coming out of one of those purely utilitarian, corrugated steel buildings surrounded with junk. As I got closer I realized that the junk surrounding the metal box building were the leftover carcasses of motorcycles. As I came to the spot where these grease covered, coverall clad boys stood I saw the sign proudly proclaiming this to be the area's local motorcycle salvage and repair business. I let off the throttle and slowly decelerated to about 25 miles per hour. As I rolled by these good ol' boys (there were three of them near the road, and a couple in the shadows of the building's doorway) began to whistle, clap, hoot, and cheer.
    I gave them the 'V' hand sign (some call it a 'peace' sign and others the 'victory' sign; either way...) along with a quick nod, and hit that throttle. The engine snarled and roared like a mighty beast from the netherworld, and away I went; a smile on my face, clouded in a shroud of mystery, and thankful that the finicky, temperamental, Whizzer engine had not decided to give me any grief at that particular moment. Sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn't. I had to wonder if these grease covered motorcycle boys had heard of the centennial celebration trip and George A. Wyman, or if they were just excited to see someone riding around on what appeared to be an antique motorcycle. I decided upon the latter and without any more contemplation or thoughts about it continued towards the more metropolitan looking area up ahead.
    While riding along I opened the cap of the gas tank to check my fuel level, and realized with some alarm that I was nearly out of fuel. I closed the cap, let off the throttle, pulled in the clutch, shut off the engine, and rolled to a stop to wait for Dad to catch up to me so I could re-fuel.
    I removed my helmet, unzipped and struggled free of my leather jacket, and tried to let the heat escape from me. Man was it ever hot! The sun in that part of the country is just brutal, and when the dust, swept by the constant wind, mixes with the sweat of your body, it's an uncomfortable gritty, dirty, irritating, sore mess. I must have been a real sight with the sweat making streaks in the dirt that covered my face and hands.
    When I took off my leather the dust immediately began to stick to my arms and I realized my mistake a few minutes later when I tried to get back into my jacket and it felt as though it had been lined with sandpaper. I stamped my feet and walked around a bit to loosen up my joints and muscles.
    Well, after a few moments Pop came over the rise and pulled over.
    He hopped out, we had some water and some laughs, refilled the bike's fuel tank, and got back on our way. We were only about ten miles outside of Evanston now and I was ready for it, as my backside was getting mighty sore. Riding this bike on this leg of the trip brought me back to something Bob Johnson had said a few months earlier. He had made a comment that really struck solid and true. It was something to the effect of, "riding these contraptions is like being beaten with sticks..." How very true this was today, by this time my butt was sore, my arms were aching, shoulders tense, and my back throbbing. My knees were slowly giving rise to a dull ache as well. Never the less, there was an electricity in my veins now; we were close to Evanston and a well earned rest. My brother would be meeting us there and the next day Bruce would be arriving, so I bore down, gritted my teeth, settled my sore rear in the saddle, and throttled on in the Wyoming sun, wind and dust. I rolled along, again enjoying (in my own carved out section of time and space) the desolate beauty of the area, when at the crest of a rise I looked ahead on down to see a "Welcome to Evanston" road sign! My adrenaline began to rush through my body, so 'I opened it up' in a manner of speaking. I ran that bike's engine at wide open throttle and was flying along at around 43 miles per hour towards the promise of food, rest, and a shower! When I rolled into to town I had to slow down, the speed limit was 30 M.P.H.; the last thing I needed today were troubles of the legal variety.
    I had been very fortunate so far in that I had not even been given a second glance by any of officers of The Law to this point. We had one talk to us a bit at a gas station somewhere on the road previously but he was more curious, maybe even enthusiastic, than being 'officious'; so far so good on that aspect of the trip.
    We entered the main street of downtown Evanston, Wyoming around 3:00 or 4:00 P.M. on Wednesday May 28th of 2003. I pulled over to the curb in front of a park with a monument out front. Figuring that I may as well enjoy the other historical aspects and associations with this journey, as I had done in other towns along the way, I waited for Dad and we looked at the Historical marker. This marker was signifying one of the few original road markers of the old "Lincoln Highway" left still standing. The main street through town WAS, originally, the Lincoln Highway. I discovered later that, the Lincoln Highway had been built along a good portion of George's original route.
    We got rolling, and up around the bend on the hill there was the Flying J. We pulled in as my brother Bill was getting his truck parked. We had arrived at nearly the same moment, which I thought at the time to be a rather strange, yet cool, coincidence.
    Dad parked the truck and camper, and I peeled my aching self off the bike once again, with the enthusiasm of knowing that I was done for the day. I chained up the bike to the truck and we walked into the cool, dimly lit, restaurant area of this 'trucker's oasis'.
    The atmosphere of this truck stop, like most along the route of this adventure, was really what one would expect in imagining a truck stop: dim lighting and tinted windows, vinyl booths lining the walls, with tables and chairs laid out in a minefield array to make life interesting when carrying back plates and saucers of food, along with beverages, back from the buffet steam tables. The smoking and non-smoking sections were in the same room with no barrier or divider so there was a blue-gray haze (similar to the world outside) that gave the dining room a most surreal appearance. On the wall in the booths were a telephone and an Internet jack. This was a bit of a surprise to me, though it shouldn't have been. I guess my image of the trucking life is still steeped in 1970's folklore.
    I know better, but just hadn't really thought about it.
    The waitresses are exactly what you might expect; right down to the goofy little uniforms. These places have probably not changed much since the 1940's in that respect.
    Dad was very partial to using the truck stops as our points of destination for the end of the day's travel. Though I hated it in some ways at the time, there was sound logic in this decision. In retrospect, I would recommend to anyone planning an adventure of this sort, picking up the truckers guide, an atlas of the U.S., which has the truck stops for every state marked. Truck stops not only have fuel, oil, other automotive related items, and restaurants, but they have a convenience store with the usual fare (coffee!) and then some. Items such as tools, lights, C.B., equipment, and much, much more can be had. Just about anything one might have a need for can be found in the retail area along with books, movies, music; I mean they just seem to have it all. On top of this, a truck stop has shower facilities, laundry facilities, and most are R.V. friendly meaning that you can set-up and "camp" for the night. Parking is free, although the laundry is coin operated and the shower cost ranged anywhere from $3.00 to $7.00; with that is included towels, washcloth, bath mat, and a small hotel sized bar of soap.
    I will warn you though; some are much cleaner and better maintained than others.
    "The graffiti in some of these was rather interesting, but unfortunately most of the writings were of the usual crass, crude, foul-mouthed variety. Not very original I'm afraid; I appreciate the lesser-seen sort that has a bit of creativity, intelligence, and thought behind it. Maybe my next adventure could be traveling on a motor bicycle collecting graffiti and publishing the more interesting and humorous bits..."
    Perhaps aside from all this though, there's a certain sense of security in laying over at a truck stop that is not found when camping alongside the road in the middle of nowhere.
    There are distinct disadvantages as well, as I was to find out in short order, but it is my firm belief, in this particular scenario of travel, that the 'pro' side definitely outweighs the 'con' side. I trust my Dad's instincts and opinions, even if I don't always listen to him and end up doing my own thing in my own way anyway. As far as I was concerned while we were embarking on this odyssey if he felt better about using the truck stops, well, then that's fine by me. This was his job on the trip, to plan the routes, and that set of duties I left (almost) completely up to him.
    We walked into the cool, dimly lit 'oasis', and after a quick, yet thorough, glance at the arrangement of seating, decided upon a booth near the back. I had unzipped my leather on the way in, but remembering the fiasco of removing my jacket outdoors was still fresh in my mind, so it was not until we were safely indoors at our booth that I struggled free of the old brown 'WW II bomber' style leather jacket. Before taking my seat I excused myself to find the restroom to clean up a bit. I was still sweating quite profusely, and with all the dirt and grime from the days ride, I needed to wash; as well as something else that nature prompted as I had been in the saddle quite a few miles since my last 'nature break'.
    Upon my return I immediately ordered a cup of coffee (straight up; no cream or sugar. I generally prefer coffee in my coffee! Although once in a while I might pollute it a little...) and decided to feast on whatever was to be had at the buffet. Precariously balancing three plates and a glass of juice, I negotiated the aforementioned minefield of people, tables, chairs, and speeding waitresses. It is worth mentioning that, as clumsy as I generally tend to be, I lost not a morsel of food, nor a drop of juice. No innocent bystanders had been harmed, which was no small feat I'll have you know!
    We ate, talked, and laughed. I could not resist making a comment referring to the fact that George would have been most pleased, and had a lot less hardship had the Flying J been around in his day. Well, after a while Bill needed to get back on the road. We said our goodbyes and I unlocked the bike from the support vehicle. Dad pulled the truck and camper around to the back of the lot and we commenced to set it up. We had become as efficient at this task as we had at loading and unloading the bike from the truck.
    Once the trailer was set up and our gear unpacked, I kind of just bummed around the truck stop a little bit, and by then it was really about time to go to bed, yet I could not find that elusive sprite sleep. There was the anticipation of tomorrow and the rest of the Wyoming portion of the journey, then of course the reefer rigs had to keep the engines of the trucks running all night long to keep the refrigeration system powered. So there's not only the constant (multiple) diesel engine rumble, but the smell of spent diesel fuel permeating the air making one nauseas and headache-y, on top of feeling just plain old irritated. I decided to take a short stroll to get some fresh air. I found a relatively quiet spot and called a few of my people from back home. Yeah, I must be forthcoming and admit to the homesickness that was eating at my insides as well.

    Thursday, May 29- 2003
    "We are just hanging out, waiting. Bruce doesn't arrive until later tonight. I don't care if I never see another truck stop again in my entire life! I've spent too many days already laying over at truck stops. Damned noisy, smelly semi trucks!
    I'm gonna go explore a little more now..."
    Well my journal entry that day gives you an idea of my morning personality; I'm just not a very nice person until I've had my coffee and my quiet, private morning time.
    I grabbed my coffee and decided have a bit more of a look around, just to get my bearings and an idea of where we were. Next to the Flying J there was a western clothiers, then a little further down a small power sports and accessories shop.
    Across the street was an adult bookstore, along with a few fast food, and convenience store/gas station, chains.
    It looked pretty much like Smalltown, Anywhere U.S.A. to me, with the exception of the haze that just seemed to veil the entire region. It gave an eerily dreamy sort of 'B' horror film feel to the entire town. This dust haze also muffled much of the background ambient noise that most of us have become accustomed to. It was kind of weird.
    Really, it was just a very surrealistic experience traveling in this part of the country.


    After wandering around for a little while, I strolled back over to the truck stop and kicked around, my worn leather boots sort of 'scuffling' across the asphalt, with a grainy sort of scraping hissing sound, amidst the swirling dust clouds in the parking lot. Boredom had once again begun to set in and I was ready to travel on along some more. I was looking forward to meeting Bruce in person and hitting the road. Well, I was just restless I guess; just wanting to go-go-go and to keep moving on; gather no moss I guess. The thought that this was merely the same restlessness I've been dealing with for most of my life did little to console my spirit or to settle me down. I was wandering around the truck stop, in and out, around and around just to keep from going crazy. Some movement is better than none at all, and I would suppose that, to top it all off, the heat was doing little to soothe my temperament.
    I finally settled down enough to be able to kick back in the camper and read some more of my book, while drinking another cup of fresh brewed coffee.
    After a short while I concluded that maybe I could put some of my energy and free time to a better use, so I went through the bike again at this time, taking care of maintenance issues and just general adjustments and spot checking for any problems.
    I was also mentally noting different things that could be much better done when I returned home, such as brazing a larger diameter section of tubing over the Mead's seat tube where the clutch arm cable bracket attaches. You know, just little things like that to reduce the maintenance, improve the mechanics, and the overall aesthetics of the old pony.
    My restlessness had become almost unbearable in the noonday heat; I was nearing spontaneous combustion when I wrote in my journal at that point:
    "I want to get this show on the road! I want to do this thing, see it, finish it, and go the hell home! It's too damn hot! I don't deal well with temperatures like this...1:09P.M."
    It was around 6:30-ish P.M. when Dad arrived back to the Flying-J oasis with Bruce. The clutch had gone awry on the support truck while they were on the way back here. We had suspected the clutch cable to be out of adjustment or broken. It would have to wait until the 'morrow, as it was now too late for any automotive repair businesses to be open.
    We ate dinner in the Flying J again with Bruce and sort of got to know each other a little better. Then Bruce and I sort of hung around and joked around some.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2015

  2. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Point of clarification, please-

    When I got to Denver, I saw many regular bikes on the Interstate shoulder on the ride up toward Vail. Elsewhere, the forum members from Arizona said Interstate shoulders were okay to ride on, if that was the only route available. Also somebody from Oregon made a similar comment.

    I thought there was some sort of understood or unwritten rule about MBikes and interstates west of the continental divide.

    If the westerners could comment on this, it would be appreciated.....

    BTW- ghost towns are cool places to explore, I found one in the Oklahoma panhandle, 4 miles up a dirt road, that looked like a perfect place to "homestead", if that was your cup of tea, plenty of boards to recycle into a shelter of sorts, water...etc

    Right out of a Steven King survival type novel.
  3. uncle_punk13

    uncle_punk13 Guest

    I learned later that we probably could have rode the interstate, but at that time thought that the restricted access meant no. Also with the semi truck trailer combo's doing 90 all over, it really felt like death waiting to happen.
    Again, I learned later that this was not the case, and carried on.
    I really got into the saddle after Wyoming; we did little transporting and mostly riding the rest of the way after becoming rather disgusted with not riding in the recreation. Dad and I sat over coffee and had a long discussion and decided that it was not working, the way we were doing it. PLUS, the nebraska roadways are perfect for long distance motobike travel, and this did much to improve my spirits, and getting really down into the feel of the thing.
    I'm trying to continue the story but the computer is giving me trouble.
    I don't have my own and my friend's is pretty antiquated so it won't transfer a lot of the files and such.
    It's frustrating, but I'm almost ready to purchase my own, and will really go to town once that happens!
  4. locoWelder

    locoWelder Guest

    Dang! UP, that was a great read I hope to post my frist long trip soon
  5. uncle_punk13

    uncle_punk13 Guest

    Thanks. I hope to get the rest of the story to New York posted, but I was havin' some tech troubles...
    Two months in the saddle bro. Ain't nothing like living free on the road like that...
    BTW- I really dig what you're throwin' down in kustom work man! That's the stuff...